A Northland man who drove his ute into three lamp posts in a bid to hurt his partner, has had his sentence reduced on appeal.

Peter John Orchard's mental health disability was the primary consideration in lowering the sentence from six years and nine months to four years and three months, the Court of Appeal decision said.


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Orchard was jailed in 2017 after he unbuckled his partner's seatbelt and deliberately drove into a series of lamp posts following an argument between the two.


Orchard's partner was hospitalised for three days, while the couple's three children, who were also passengers in the car, were unhurt but traumatised.

In the Court's decision yesterday, Justice Stephen Kos referred to psychiatric reports detailing Orchard's history with mental illness, after developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following an incident in 2013.

The Judge cited the "adequate evidence" in the reports which stated that Orchard's condition contributed to his actions, as well as his willingness to undertake treatment for his disability.

Orchard was driving his partner and children to Kerikeri in January 2016 when he became upset after a text message she received.

He then began shouting at his partner, who had a protection order against him, about how he had "nothing left to lose".

He then unbuckled her seat belt, and drove the passenger side of the car into the lamp posts, eventually flipping the car on to the passenger side.

Orchard pleaded guilty to one charge of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, two of common assault and one of breaching a protection order. The original sentence was longer as the Judge considered Orchard's condition a danger to his family.

However, the Court of Appeal decided that since Orchard's PTSD contributed to the offending, the offence was mitigated.

Orchard was also disqualified from driving for six months, starting from when he is released from jail.